LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- A second day of an accidental fledge for an eaglet at a North Fort Myers eagle nest has prompted property owners to ask photographers to move to a nearby area to give the immature raptor a chance to return to the nest.
On Tuesday E9, the offspring of eagle pair Harriet and M15 at the Bayshore Drive nest, fell from the nest as he was testing his wings. The eaglet fell partially out of the pine tree the nest is in but managed to recover and fly to the ground.
Photographers and videographers on a residential driveway that bisects two pastures, one where the nest tree is located, recorded the fall and E9's subsequent flying around. They also caught Harriet and M15 attending to E9.
Wednesday morning Andy Pritchett, one of the owners of the property, said that as of 8 a.m. photographers would be asked to keep the driveway clear and to move to a nearby church parking lot. That church area has been a popular place for eagle watchers to gather over the years.
"We want to give a little effort to let E9 to come back to the nest," he said.
Pritchett said that photographers have not normally been a hindrance in the past. "But since this is his first time...we're asking people to stay off the private drive, we're asking people to give him his space."
Harriet and M15 are attending to E9, he said. "They know what they're doing, they are providing for E9," Pritchett said. "They are keeping an eye on him."
Intervention by wildlife officials is not being considered, he said, but if they make a suggestion or recommendation the Pritchett family will follow up, he said.
A warning on the eagle cam site gives viewers an idea of what trouble people who try to interfere could be in: "Pursuant to state and federal law it is illegal to "take, feed, disturb, possess, sell, purchase or barter, or attempt to engage in any such conduct, any bald eagle or parts thereof, or their nests or eggs. All violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
Since E9's accidental foray, people from around the U.S. and the world have watched via the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam. E9's "fall", fly-off and subsequent antics have been partially viewable via the cam.
A viewer in Virginia expressed concern Tuesday about crowds of people. Another from Paris, France, who said the hatching of E9 and the eaglet's growth helped her stop smoking, said she wished she could be in SWFL to watch the eagles in person.
Pritchett said the current eaglet situation is not the most drama the nesting eagle have seen. He said the drama between Harriet's current partner M15 and her old beau, Ozzie, created quite a sensation as have the hatching of eagle eggs over the years.
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